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FCP 6 MacBook pro (2008) - external monitor playback issues

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Jonathan Lester
FCP 6 MacBook pro (2008) - external monitor playback issues
on Jan 30, 2012 at 3:52:16 pm

(this is being typed on my iPhone, so auto-correct might be unfortunate)

Hey gang, I've been looking into getting an additional display for my MacBook, so I took it up to an electronic store to test out monitors. I booted up FCP, with a project I know works, and messed around with my window arrangment. Whenever I had a windOw that played video on the external display, the playback would: A) play fine, but has a jumpy refresh line that is too distracting to Edit around, or B) Isolate a few frames from the timeline and and loop them during play back - so the actual footage can't be viewed, only those random frames.
This occurred on all the displays I tested, so I deduced it must be a software or setting issue.

Has anyone encountered this problem? Or able to decipher my description enough to find a solution?

I fumbled with all the display settings, but the only consistent one was set at 60Hz.

Thanks guys!


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Bret Williams
Re: FCP 6 MacBook pro (2008) - external monitor playback issues
on Jan 30, 2012 at 9:59:25 pm

Yes, if you're using the second computer monitor as a video display it won't have perfectly smooth playback like a proper aja/matrox/blackmagic output. The gamma is also incorrect and interlacing isn't possible. When you plug and unplug it into different monitors it is the same as unhooking computer monitors from your computer (whatever you're hooking up, you're utilizing it as an external computer display, not a video playback monitor) and pretty much you'll need to turn off all external display output, refresh external devices, possibly reboot FCP and the computer. It gets confused and that's the couple frame repeat thing you're getting. Usually it just crashes FCP, but sometimes you get the repeated frames. This function is really designed for a dual computer monitor setup, where you don't have a video monitor, so you can use your bin monitor for enlarged playback. Just like FCP X.


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Jonathan Lester
Re: FCP 6 MacBook pro (2008) - external monitor playback issues
on Jan 30, 2012 at 11:41:47 pm

Hmmm, I wasn't aware there was a difference. But no, I was testing on LED computer displays at Fry's.
My sole intention in using an extra display was to have a screen for playback in FCP. Since I can't, the new screen is occupied by my bin window, which de-clutters my laptop display quite nicely. So it still helps, but not in the way I had originally desired.

So what's this blackmagic thing? Is that a type of screen or software?


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Bret Williams
Re: FCP 6 MacBook pro (2008) - external monitor playback issues
on Jan 31, 2012 at 5:40:14 am

Look to your left and to your right. You'll probably see ads for AJA, Blackmagic, and Matrox. Those are the 3 main companies that make video output devices for Final Cut Pro. If you have a MacPro, it would be a card that sits in a Pcie slot and outputs SDI, HDMI, Component, SVideo, Composite, etc. For hooking your video up to a professional television monitor for watching video. Video is not displayed the same on a computer screen as a television. For example, computer screens aren't capable of interlaced output and have a different gamma than television monitors.

But if you just want to see your video big, there should be no reason your second computer monitor you're using for bins shouldn't be able to do that. Have you tried going to View>External Video>All Frames? You'll also have to select View>Video Playback>Digital Cinema Desktop Preview Full Screen - that will mirror the canvas window full screen on your second computer monitor. That's the poor man's version. Goto blackmagic-design.com, matrox.com, or aja.com to see what the pros are using to monitor, ingest and output.


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Bret Williams
Re: FCP 6 MacBook pro (2008) - external monitor playback issues
on Jan 30, 2012 at 10:31:41 pm

Reading your post again... were you testing on computer monitors or HDTVs? And yes 60hz is the normal refresh rate of LCDs. Some TVs have 120, 240, etc. but always a multiple of 60 I think. My Vizio reports that it's playing 24hz when I send it a true 24p signal via my matrox mx02, but I'm unsure if it's reporting the signal it's getting or if that's the signal it's outputting. Probably the former.


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